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  • iPhone application pricing
    store and some will just never be updated with the 2 0 firmware required to run the applications Here comes the rampant speculation If we assume 1 in 1000 iPhone owners buy your application You charge 10 You pay 28 income tax on the profit and it s all profit after Apple s cut Your support costs will be insignificant then you will get to keep 18 648 after tax Now those are a lot of assumptions especially the support cost But the most important factor and the biggest unknown is the sales rate will 1 in 1000 iPhone owners buy a decent application Move the decimal point in either direction and it becomes very different if you can convince 1 in 100 you get 186 480 But if you can only convince 1 in 10 000 you only get 1864 that s not worth most people s time to write And that s an important factor consider how long the application took to write At 3 man months the 1 in 1000 figure above gives you 6 216 per man month Not bad But if you re making a very complex application that takes two developers and six months to write that s only 1 554 per man month you ll need to significantly raise the price or sales rate to make that worthwhile Now over time the number of iPhone owners is likely to increase significantly Once Apple hits 10 million iPhone owners the default scenario above earns 50 400 The biggest and most important variable is clearly the sales rate How many iPhone owners will use third party applications at all Among them how many will ever pay money for one Then among those how many will pay money for yours Considering this I m thinking that

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/288 (2016-04-30)
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  • Don't Seat Michigan's Delegates
    raises more theoretical concerns The Obama campaign objected that the mail in vote would not be fraud proof This was probably too mild When people have to show up in person to vote poll workers are there to spot somebody who is trying to vote multiple times You might be able to vote in different precincts using different names or the names of the recently deceased but overall it would take an immense effort to garner maybe five fraudulent votes With the mail in primary you could mail in as many ballots as you wanted using the names of as many people as you knew wouldn t be voting and have a negligible chance of being caught Alternatively you could cast ballots under the name of somebody you knew would be voting against your candidate so that two or three ballots showed up in that person s name and their vote would be tossed out Then there are the more traditional forms of mail interception and tampering One dishonest postal worker could wreak havoc on the entire system So I guess you could call the plan not fraud proof Perhaps a traditionally primary could happen if it were privately funded Both campaigns have raised hundreds of millions of dollars If they each ponied up 5 million they could cover it and not miss the money Alternatively they could tap some of their billionaire buddies and privately fund the primary A privately funded election should raise a few concerns about the integrity of the election but whatever The whole process is enough of a mess that we re past worries about conceptual integrity We just need something practically fair reasonably secure and representative Then who gets to vote The January 15 election was an open primary Anybody registered to vote could vote for either party Some Democrats voted for Romney hoping to give the Republicans the most odious candidate possible Other Democrats voted for McCain hoping to at least knock the most odious candidate out of the race Can registered Democrats who voted for Republicans in January vote in the new primary What about registered Republicans The Clinton camp insisted on getting the list of who had voted for whom and excluding anybody who had voted for Republicans Unsurprisingly this would exclude quite a number of Obama s supporters who either didn t get the memo on voting uncommitted or didn t trusted everybody who told them that the Democrats wouldn t count Michigan and wanted to vote for the least odious candidate that would count their vote One survey showed that 18 of Obama s supporters would prefer Clinton to McCain That s a huge percentage of Obama s supporters who could have taken a Republican ballot rather than vote for Clinton Similarly the on the fence independents who traditionally have broken toward Obama almost certainly also voted in the election that counted Clinton s supporters insisted that those who had voted for Republicans couldn t vote again Obama s

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/287 (2016-04-30)
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  • Leave the Electoral College Out of the Primaries
    Illinois Then it arbitrarily drew the line between Massachussetts and Georgia And it counted the Texas primary but not the Texas caucus Even more perplexingly it did not explain why one big state should count more than a couple medium large states Then we heard about the states that matter Apparently states that routinely voted Democratic mattered but Republican states did not Perhaps the implication is that the Democrats should only care about the states that vote for them Or perhaps this one wasn t very well thought out Sure Texas is likely to vote Republican But does anybody seriously think Obama can t beat McCain in Massachusetts This metric was quickly retired in favor of something less offensive to half of the country We heard about how Hillary is polling higher in the swing states like Ohio Pennsylvania and probably Florida That sounded pretty credible until somebody counted other swing states Oregon Minnesota Iowa Missouri Virginia Additionally Obama won by such great margins in some of the red states that they too might be in play if he is the nominee As a small example Obama received over three times more votes than McCain in solidly Republican Alaska It could happen The latest count is who would be winning in the electoral college For the sake of the national dialogue this argument should die an early death The electoral college Democrats haven t forgiven the electoral college for Gore s 2000 loss It s a hard sell to argue that the bizarre yet Constitutionally enshrined system of the electoral college is a more democratic system than the relatively proportional system in place today Sean Wilentz writes Democrats in primary states choose their nominee on the basis of a convoluted system of proportional distribution I ll grant that the system is convoluted with open and closed contests primaries and caucuses and the mysterious superdelegates with the voting power of 15 000 mere mortals but what is so confusing about proportional representation That s a bedrock principle of democracy not as Wilentz writes an eccentricity in the Democratic nominating system The current system started with the one Democrat one vote ideal It s far from perfect but it s much more progressive than the winner take all regardless of margin system that the electoral college offers Superdelegates might accept a gigantic step backwards on the grounds of practicality but it s certainly not any sort of moral high ground A bare win in a state Democratic primary has little to do how many electoral votes that candidate is likely to win in November The relevant question is not who won California on February 5 but who is most likely to win California in November Clinton won California by a fairly narrow margin in February But California will almost certainly vote for either Clinton or Obama over McCain in November So will New York Similarly neither Clinton nor Obama is likely to win in Texas Thus for electability purposes New York Texas

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/286 (2016-04-30)
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  • Climate Change is Solveable
    understandable goal even a politically unrealistic one can give us something to strive toward rather than something to fight against That goal becomes obvious once we think about what is happening Remember that seventh grade science lesson about how the atmosphere changed as soon as plants appeared Plants would absorb CO 2 and give off O 2 That extra carbon molecule became part of the plants The plants died Many of them turned into coal and other fossil fuels Others turned into more plants Gradually the atmosphere changed and we got animals which ate the plants and emitted more CO 2 but the animals could only emit as much CO 2 as the plants had fixed Gradually the atmospheric composition changed as more and more of the carbon was locked in giant forests or buried as fossil fuels Enter humanity We start burning the fossil fuels then cutting down and burning the forests We re undoing those millions of years of atmospheric shift that make animal life possible Thus the solution is relatively simple Don t burn anything over fifty years old This means no fossil fuels and no burning old growth forests From an emissions stand point ethanol is

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/285 (2016-04-30)
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  • Clear Channel asks FCC to censor satellite radio
    decency rules were to apply to the merged entity There is no constitutional bar to such a condition Clear Channel s implication is that obscene content is more highly demanded than clean content and without obscene content terrestrial radio can t compete This is an exaggeration of course But it brings up an interesting point If this bears much truth doesn t it imply that the FCC s censorship for over the air broadcasts should be revoked If the market is demanding obscene content and subsets of the market satellite radio HBO Showtime etc have demonstrated that it can be executed well without invoking the apocalypse why continue to enforce legislative censorship Clear Channel s argument shouldn t be to censor everyone equally they should be arguing for the revocation of all censorship of media They re not arguing that of course because they didn t file this complaint because they wanted to do the right thing They re trying to drum up religious fanatic political support to pressure the FCC to maintain Clear Channel s monopoly As you can expect from a massive corporation enjoying a monopoly enabled by governmental deregulation their lobbyists jobs are to whine as much

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/284 (2016-04-30)
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  • How to make good coffee
    a one way valve intended to let air out as they cool from roasting Once the bag has been opened the seal is broken and no matter how well you fold the top it s not airtight anymore You don t need to refrigerate or freeze them In fact you probably shouldn t When you take out the cold beans condensation will form Then when you close the container you re trapping in a bunch of moisture That s bad Beans need to be kept airtight and dry Grinding When you re ready to make coffee grind the beans Don t grind them the night before once ground there s a lot more surface area exposed to air and going stale Smell that delicious coffee aroma after you grind That s your flavor escaping You want that in the coffee Grind to a medium fine level In a typical spinning blade grinder this is about 10 seconds worth Use about 1 scoop tablespoon of beans per cup as defined by your coffee maker not your mug Some people use less because they don t want too much bitterness but this is a fallacy The flavors extracted from beans come out unevenly when you pass more water through an exhausted bean bitterness is extracted If you really want weaker coffee you can always dilute it with hot water afterward Brewing Filter the water A regular Brita pitcher or comparable imitation is fine If you ve previously used unfiltered water in your coffeemaker you may want to clean it to remove mineral deposits French presses are fun but you can get great coffee from regular drip makers and the press usually isn t worth the hassle and cleanup Presses are also very unforgiving about inconsistent grind sizes unless you have an expensive

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/283 (2016-04-30)
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  • Not missing cable TV
    lot of TV TV is the easy way out When you have nothing to do it s the default But without cable we re forced to consciously decide what content we want to watch and plan accordingly Instead of flipping through channels or settling on shows we don t really want to watch we watch entire series with Netflix No commercials no week long waits between episodes and an inherent limit on how many hours per day can be spent watching things For new shows there s always iTunes or piracy And plenty of great content is now free as video podcasts Instead I taught myself the beginnings of Cocoa Objective C and the iPhone SDK I m already making progress on a real application Then I wrote a massive HTML parsing engine for a cool upcoming feature of Instapaper Tonight I successfully diagnosed and fixed an obscure Tumblr server issue dramatically speeding up the service Then I wrote this article which will sit here and earn a few cents every day for years I feel great too I haven t needed to keep myself awake with coffee because I haven t been bored I was so excited and motivated

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/282 (2016-04-30)
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  • Can Hillary Clinton still win?
    strongest competitor uncommitted by 15 Notably the ballots of anybody who wrote in Obama or Edwards were thrown out Just before the Florida primary where Hillary was polling significantly ahead Hillary announced that Michigan and Florida s delegates should count and that she would hold a large publicized fundraiser in Florida just before the election Once again Hillary won by a moderate margin predominantely on name recognition Now that she has won Hillary is pushing to seat Michigan and Florida delegates If she manages to do this she will pick up a few delegates though not half enough to tie up the race Once again it is highly dubious that this effort will succeed Excluding two states looks bad for the DNC but changing the rules at the convention in order to favor one candidate over another looks terrible Even if Hillary s pledged delegates are willing to do this the superdelegates politicians all will realize how bad this looks Unless Michigan and Florida hold some sort of revote perhaps a caucus they are likely to remain excluded Since Obama does well in caucuses and the Big Cheeses of the Michigan Democrats are Hillary supporters the caucus is unlikely to happen and Michigan and Florida are probably off the map as far as the Democratic nomination is concerned Since many of the 800 superdelegates who could sway the voting are going to have troubles with their own reelection campaigns if the electorate perceives the Democrats as shady and corrupt Clinton will have trouble winning through back room dealing If Clinton is going to win she will probably have to do it above the table Hillary will need to win more pledged delegates in states with real elections Can Clinton Win Above the Table If the race goes all the way through the Puerto Rico contest on June 7 there are 1312 delegates left to assign If Hillary gets 55 of those she would narrowly regain the lead Mathematically it s possible However she would need to hold her campaign together long enough to make her victory look probable And a Hillary victory in many of the undecided states looks distinctly improbable Obama won Washington Idaho North Dakota Utah Colorado and Nebraska by gigantic margins Can Clinton win in Montana Wyoming Oregon and South Dakota Obama won Illinos by a similar margin Can next door Indiana go for Hillary The next contest is Wisconsin and Hawaii Obama grew up in Hawaii and is expected to win there in a landslide Wisconsin is just north of Illinois also an Obama stronghold Neither of these looks like a likely win for Clinton but she s at least running attack ads in Wisconsin targetting Obama for ignoring her request for weekly debates Doing well enough in Wisconsin and Hawaii that Obama s delegate lead does not increase is the best Hillary can reasonably hope to do Perhaps she could win a narrow victory in Wisconsin and at least show up on the charts in

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/280 (2016-04-30)
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